Anybody who has ever been to London will tell you the same two things – the city is big and expensive. There’s a whole heap of stuff to do, but you better have the requisite cash. In a valiant attempt to overcome this, the new British Airways Facebook chatbot aims to provide users with generous deals on things to do in the British capital.
The bot is, essentially, a condensed guide to the events of London, rife with deals,recommendations tailored to the user, and affordable flights from a variety of different countries. The bot capitalizes on the lower value of the pound following recent political events to enable people with other currencies to visit London on a budget.
The deals apply to people in Germany, France, Singapore, India, Japan and the UAE. Those from other countries can still use the bot to browse tips and suggestions for what to do in the capital, but will miss out on the reduced prices.
Once activated, the British Airways Facebook chatbot will send users a list of various attractions and activities, ranging from Jessie J concerts to luxury hotels. The service provides the option to learn more about the chosen attraction and make bookings, in the form of a link to an external site. If users are really enticed, they can book flights to the UK there and then. Selecting a stay at the Rosewood hotel gave us the option to not only book a room with a 30% discount, but also entitled me to a guaranteed upgrade.
The chatbot makes use of media such as embedded videos and also operates in multiple languages, giving users the option to proceed in their native tongue or in English.
Sara Dunham, the Head of Marketing Retail & Direct Channels at BA, thinks the bot will give users an extra reason to visit London this winter. In an interview with Future Travel Experience, she said, “By launching the British Airways ‘BOTler’ across our core markets, we are providing our customers with a plethora of extra reasons – tailored to their personal tastes – to experience the magical city of London at its iconic winter best.”
While the British Airways Facebook chatbot is a useful accompaniment to a trip to London, there’s no coverage of other areas in the UK, many of which could benefit from a tourism boost more than the capital, which already pulls in millions of visitors at this time of year. The bot could also benefit from a bit more detail and a slightly smoother interface. Despite this, the service is undeniably helpful and contains some very impressive deals. Those heading to London this festive season would be wise to check BOTler out. Hurry up, though – it’s only valid for December 2016.
Have you used BOTler, the British Airways Facebook chatbot, to plan a winter trip to London? Let us know in the comments below!